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Be a Skeptical Optimist

Posted By: Randy GageMay 6, 2015

I honestly believe that one of the most important things you can do for success – is to wake up each morning as a skeptical optimist.

Here’s what I mean by that…

You need skepticism, because that’s the critical thinker part of it all. You must question premises and not follow the herd blindly.

When people tell you that something can’t be done, you don’t accept that at face value. When people tell you that you “should” be doing something, you’ll weigh the input rationally and ponder questions like these:

Is the premise correct? Do they have a conflicting agenda here? Do they have my best interests at heart? Are they unknowingly following a mind virus that isn’t in my highest good? Are they qualified to give me that advice?

But you also need the optimist part. You have to go into things expecting them to work out. Nine times out of ten, the team that expects to win does. And when they both expect to win, the team that believes it more usually does.

Skepticism is good, because it keeps your mind open. But never fall prey to cynicism, because that closes your mind again. To be successful, you need a default setting of optimism. And this is a good strategy, because the evidence supports it.

Most people really are good and if given the chance, would like to do the right thing. We’re living in the greatest time in human history (until tomorrow), when so many wondrous things are possible. There has never been a better time to become successful, never been more opportunities to go from dead broke to multi-millionaire. (Or billionaire.)  And the best way to make that happen, is wake up every morning as a skeptical optimist.

-RG

16 comments on “Be a Skeptical Optimist”

  1. RG.. good points as always. Personally being in the visual storytelling world, the skepticism from the legacy film/TV world about new media is astounding. But I'm not one to let that stop me from going in a new direction rather than clinging to the past. And sure, I'm skeptical at times but my heart tells me that to succeed I must innovate and step AWAY from the crowd. Steve Jobs seems to have done pretty well with that approach. Thanks my friend.

  2. Thanks for the sage advice.  Manually shared on twitter due to technical difficulties. Thanks Randy. 🙂

  3. Рэнди, я разделяю с тобой твое мнение по этому поводу! Спасибо за напоминание!

  4. Skepticism?  Critical thinking?  What other radical dogma are you going to profess next, that people think for themselves?  That's a very slippery slope.  If people actually start doing what you are suggesting here (but don't worry, they won't; I have been trying for years to get people to use common sense, rationality, and critical thinking to no avail), it would be the end of all religions, supernatural bullshit, politics as we know it, corporate greed, and most television programs.  Do you really want to be responsible for the demise of these things I just mentioned?  And what about all of your followers who believe in a capricious supernatural being who is floating in outer space rewarding them one minute and torturing them the next?  Think about it!  No more, "God bless you" at the end of many of the posts you receive.  Do you really want to live in a world where all humans are treated with respect, war and famine is eliminated, science is promoted, quality of life is enhanced, and disease and suffering is mitigated?  I should think not. So be careful, my friend, as to what you advocate. You just might plant a seed in the minds of humans, which will actually cause them to use logic rather than emotion to make decisions causing all of the aforementioned atrocities to come to fruition.

  5. When people tell you that something can’t be done, you don’t accept that
    at face value. When people tell you that you “should” be doing
    something, you’ll weigh the input rationally and ponder questions like
    these:
    see more at

  6. Randy I just described myself as a skeptical optimist. I wondered if anyone else had ever combined this phrase and through the power of google found your eloquent article and even better advice. Thank you!

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  • 16 comments on “Be a Skeptical Optimist”

    1. RG.. good points as always. Personally being in the visual storytelling world, the skepticism from the legacy film/TV world about new media is astounding. But I'm not one to let that stop me from going in a new direction rather than clinging to the past. And sure, I'm skeptical at times but my heart tells me that to succeed I must innovate and step AWAY from the crowd. Steve Jobs seems to have done pretty well with that approach. Thanks my friend.

    2. Thanks for the sage advice.  Manually shared on twitter due to technical difficulties. Thanks Randy. 🙂

    3. Рэнди, я разделяю с тобой твое мнение по этому поводу! Спасибо за напоминание!

    4. Skepticism?  Critical thinking?  What other radical dogma are you going to profess next, that people think for themselves?  That's a very slippery slope.  If people actually start doing what you are suggesting here (but don't worry, they won't; I have been trying for years to get people to use common sense, rationality, and critical thinking to no avail), it would be the end of all religions, supernatural bullshit, politics as we know it, corporate greed, and most television programs.  Do you really want to be responsible for the demise of these things I just mentioned?  And what about all of your followers who believe in a capricious supernatural being who is floating in outer space rewarding them one minute and torturing them the next?  Think about it!  No more, "God bless you" at the end of many of the posts you receive.  Do you really want to live in a world where all humans are treated with respect, war and famine is eliminated, science is promoted, quality of life is enhanced, and disease and suffering is mitigated?  I should think not. So be careful, my friend, as to what you advocate. You just might plant a seed in the minds of humans, which will actually cause them to use logic rather than emotion to make decisions causing all of the aforementioned atrocities to come to fruition.

    5. When people tell you that something can’t be done, you don’t accept that
      at face value. When people tell you that you “should” be doing
      something, you’ll weigh the input rationally and ponder questions like
      these:
      see more at

    6. Randy I just described myself as a skeptical optimist. I wondered if anyone else had ever combined this phrase and through the power of google found your eloquent article and even better advice. Thank you!

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